This month’s Fantasy Focus is on the romantic comedy subgenre. Today, I’m privileged to have Rebecca Crunden, author of many romantic fantasy books, talk about the joy of writing romantic fantasy. Thank you so much, Rebecca!
I was writing up a movie review the other night – In Time by Andrew Niccol, good film! – and spent a good amount of it discussing the joys of romantic sci-fi, and I think so much of what I love about romantic sci-fi is also what I love in romantic fantasy. I love the world-building, I love the different times/eras/settings/universes, I love the escapism and the imagination. In fact, I think of all the genres I’ve written in, romantic fantasy is probably my favourite. Although if we’re being really specific, dystopian romantic fantasy is my top tier favourite. Examining power structures, oppression, politics and greed with a side helping of magic and a dash of romance? Sign me up; I will read ALL THE BOOKS!
My most recent novel, These Violent Nights, is thus unsurprisingly a dystopian romantic fantasy. (Two of my earlier novels, Haze and A Game of Wings and Marks are paranormal romance and urban fantasy romance, respectively, so they fit into the broader umbrella of romantic fantasy but focus almost entirely on the characters more than the world-building. My short story, The Man and the Crow, is also a romantic fantasy.) For its part, These Violent Nights is a big chonk of a book at 600+ pages and spans two alternate futures, each one dystopian and forbidding in a different way. I wouldn’t say it’s quite cyberpunk paralleled against steampunk, but there are elements of cyberpunk incorporated into one world while the parallel universe has steampunk-lite elements.
The book is initially told from the point of view of Thorn, one of the last humans in a world overrun by magical creatures who have spent centuries hunting humans to near extinction. Her love interest, Kol, is one of those very magical beings. Their paths cross when their best friends fall in love and they’re forced to be around each other. And ooooh, there’s drama and angst and fighting! It’s very enemies-to-lovers. Then, in the second volume of the book, you meet another couple (Lucien and Nik) in a relationship that is in every way different and paralleled to Thorn and Kol’s. I loved exploring the nuances of the relationships and examining how two souls who have no reason to trust each other can ultimately work together and even fall in love. But like any good fairy tale, there’s a long, grim road to travel before the happy ending.
I suppose for me the greatest joy in writing fantasy romance novels is imagining other worlds and universes, and the souls within them. I spend far too much of my time daydreaming inside the universes I’ve imagined, or coming up with new ones. And in addition to being a hopeless, incurable daydreamer, I’m just a romantic at heart. I love love. My favourite film of all time is The Princess Bride (the book is fantastic, too) and it’s been a genre and a theme that I’ve always returned to whilst writing.
I think imagining worlds where, in the midst of fighting with, or alongside, dragons and spells, witches and elves, you also have characters who are enduring it all together, is just terribly romantic and fun. And while I adore the theme of love-conquers-all in every genre, I think the escapism of romantic fantasy really sells me on it being my forever fav. Sometimes the last thing you want is to spend time in the real world, but you still ache for that us-against-the-world theme. Romantic fantasy is the perfect place for that!
About the author:
Rebecca Crunden is an indie author of fantasy and science fiction who lives in Ireland.